What truly makes a good contract?

I understand some of the ideas:

  • Don’t over do it with complications and things like that
  • Pick interesting NPCs and locations

And etc. but i don’t truly understand when people who knows about making contracts say, for example, that a map is better for contracts than another map, when they say that a contract is better engineered than another and things like that

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One thing that also adds to the experience is an interesting briefing or title. It’s usually a red flag for me if a briefing uses the usual “You have been cleared to engage” message. That contract might be good, but seeing that briefing usually sadly pushes me away from that contract. Make a backstory, use a poem (I’ve seen that being used, it turned out great), use 7DS talk, etc…

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I think contracts are so different to each other, you can compare them and come to the conclusion they are great in their own regard and still be vastly different and attract other players.

I wrote this in my curator interview:

If it exists, What makes the perfect Contract?
The perfect contract offers a puzzle to solve. And a way to bypass it with more effort if you don’t like that. It can also be done fast, but does not push you if you don’t want to. It limits you to become creative, but is still open enough if you want to do things your way. And you come back to it because after finishing it you have new ideas, new knowledge you want to try out.

Regarding maps, this is a bit easier I think. Some maps have cool areas with opportunities which are not too easy and not too hard, no overpowered disguises, many starts and exits and so on. Besides that, if they are not too overwhelming they tend to be much liked. Sapienza is an all-time classic because the areas it offers are very different, you can have many holes in between them and so on.

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You know what truly would make a good contract? The ability to mark Items for retrieval and to mark Laptops and PCs for hacking. It would also be great to have the ability to make your own little Campaigns, where when you complete the first contract you can just press “play next”.

But this wont happen, so i think the Mode is mostly a waste of time.

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The chance to make an even better one next time…

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I’d say each map has it’s own specialties. The bonus missions and The Source have only one starting location which allow you to have closer and further targets, places like Mumbai and Sapienza are rich in disguises and items, while “exclusive” locations like Haven and Mendoza have great potential with civilians. If I had to pick the map with the most contract potential, it’d probably be Miami. There’s many groups of NPCs across the map, and it’s fun when creating a contract to pick and choose. For example, in…

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although all 4 aren’t that far apart, and it’s the same kill method, there’s still a unique puzzle for each target. In addition to this, Sierra as a contracts target is very dynamic as any method lets you shoot the car while you may see electrocution, for example, where you could emetic her to a sink or taze the puddle of champagne when she drinks from the trophy.

Even if in the cases of Dubai and Berlin where there is a universal guard disguise, you can always either have no knockouts, no disguise changes, fixed disguises, or you could stay clear of Bikers/Penthouse guards entirely. The ICA Facility, despite the many limitations, can still be put to good use. Arrive, Hide, Leave by Urben is very creative. Even Hawkes Bay has the beach area with a bunch of interesting guard patrols. Think I might make one there soon…

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No instant fail conditions. Something like “hide all bodies” or “delete evidence” is okay, but nothing like “if xx then instantly start over”

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Must have no targets :wink:

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That reminds me:

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Speaking only for myself obviously, the best contracts that I have played do have a few things in common.

  1. No “suit only” restrictions. The ability to use disguises is such a core part of the Hitman games that I find removing it not only makes no sense, but detracts from the enjoyment of playing the game.
  2. No time limits. I hate timers. Hitman should never be a timed experience. The ability to go slow and methodical is part of what makes the game great for me.
  3. No weapon restrictions. Don’t tell me what weapons I can and cannot use. There are so many weapons in Hitman that we’ve earned over the course of the three games. We should be able to use any of them we want.
  4. Solvable puzzles. Puzzles are fine for contracts but they should not be so needlessly complicated that it becomes frustrating or requires going to YouTube to find a tutorial. It’s fine if it takes a few tries to figure it out, but being so complicated as to be essentially impossible is tedious and isn’t fun.
  5. With the exception of those contracts that were specifically designed for challenges, a contract shouldn’t be so easy that it’s over and done with in less than a minute.

That’s my opinion anyway. I’m sure many would disagree.

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I think this is interesting and agree with what’s already been said. I think for a lot of folks the beauty of the game is in working out which way to deal with different impediments, so I think @Urben 's (excellently put) comment is exactly right.

I’d add, for me, there’s a balance between minimisation of frustration vs variety of possible approaches vs originality of solution

Frustration could include:

  • if the starting point is a long way from targets or if restrictive conditions mean a load of ‘preparation’ is needed before trying the important bit of the contract
  • if it’s unavoidably long
  • if it involves waiting around too much
  • if there’s so many complications it takes numerous goes (and looking up on hitmaps) to even work out what to do
  • if it has a key action that’s unreliable (particularly if near the end of a route), e.g. an unreliable window of opportunity to avoid a witness.
  • if a contract can’t be improved incrementally (i.e. you can’t ‘get it done’ moderately reliably then go back and try and improve efficiency bit at a time)

There’s always going to be some frustration (without any frustration, I guess it would be boring), but I think the best contracts only have as much as is necessary.

I’m very happy to put time in on a baffling single target puzzle with odd restrictions that might really only be doable in one way (so low variety) - if that way is interesting (high originality) and if I can test things out without excessive effort (frustration minimised by keeping it short) - i.e. there aren’t many other targets nor loads of navigating needed from a starting point nor insta-fail conditions that make it hard to test out ideas.

Equally, five targets fairly well spread across a big map can also be appealing if there’s scope to tackle them in lots of different ways and work out efficient routing across a map (high variety and frustration minimised by routes being improvable).

And I’ve gradually started to appreciate how this is reflected in maps (or bits of maps). As an example, the Santa Fortuna construction site - I’ve tried and failed several times to make an interesting contract there - it has plenty of interesting opportunities, and you can start there, however, I find the lines of sight make avoiding witnesses really tricky and potentially quite frustrating, so have never made something I’m satisfied with.

I also agree an interesting/funny title and description is good - whilst it probably isn’t essential to overall enjoyment of a contract, a sense of theme helps make it stand out, and in the absence of any other ‘quality control’ (except finding contracts posted e.g. here!), the title/description can be an indicator (though by no means a guarantee) that if the creator has thought carefully and creatively about that, then they might also have thought carefully and creatively about the design of the contract.

Er, that was longer than I intended, sorry for rambling :slight_smile:

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I think a great example of a “Bad” contract is Vatican Privilege. That contract has only one way to successfully accomplish all of the objectives. That one way takes quite a while to do correctly as it relies on a very specific sequence of events that cannot be sped up. It also requires that a specific thing in the contract happens in a relatively specific way (unless you want to employ a glitch, which should never be required in a contract), and if anything goes sideways in that sequence, you have to start all over again.

That contract is certainly interesting. It is not, however, “good”.

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Great idea for a thread @sandor_krasna , very interesting and lots of food for thought.
I’m in broad agreement with many of the points raised by @schatenjager and @funknumpty , even though it’s made me realise I’m guilty of a few sins in my own contract creating.
The timer is a major bugbear for me, really enjoy contracts I can make work ‘on the fly’, and I find that little yellow box in the corner a total mood killer.
I’ll have to keep an eye on this thread and maybe my own creating will improve

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Red flags:

  • Someone putting more effort into the briefing than the actual gameplay smh
  • Autofails
  • Too many complications
  • Too many kill & disguise restrictions
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I hate weapon restrictions personally, especially if they’re not consistent. Nothing worse for me than seeing 5 targets all with the same weapon but half the time it’s a melee kill and the other half is thrown.

I think disguise restrictions can work well but not if it’s a situation where you have to keep changing disguise. My preference is one suit for the whole mission (excluding the time before you get that suit) or no restrictions at all.

Auto fails are the worst, the worst is if your shot misses a target.

The more freedom to approach it the better. It can have restrictions but really think about which serve a real purpose and would be fun for someone who doesn’t know your ideal solution since we aren’t mind readers.

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For my taste, don’t tell me what to wear. I don’t like that in real life any more than I like it in a game.

I’ve been personally attacked, right here on this very www.hitmanforum.com

I mean my contracts have good gameplay but I definitely try very hard for 500 characters. I wrote 2 A4 pages worth for one the other day

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Reading through all of these comments. Makes me realise that there is no one type of contract that is perfect for everyone’s taste. I think both @Urben 's and @funknumpty 's comments are both excellent points. One is that contracts are so different to each other that any contract is good on their own. And the other point is finding a balance.

My point when it comes to knowing when a contract that you or someone else made is good is when you know that you’re having fun playing the contract. There’s always going to be people that don’t like a particular type of contract - but the thing is, you don’t know if it’ll be a good contract unless you play it. Admittedly, I started playing Hitman during Christmas last year with Hitman 2 and I’m not exactly a master at it, I do enjoy playing and making contracts. That is probably my favorite part of the Hitman games in recent years - the endless possibility and replayability. It’s nice to be open to play all types of contracts. You might favor one type of contract over the other. I don’t usually like Sniper type contracts, but my favorite contract of that type would probably be @Kevin_Rudd 's What’s In The Box? Interesting and original idea of a Sniper type contract.

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But, for SONKO challenges this makes sense.

I wouldn’t even include those in SONKO challenges. After I fail an objective I still experiment a bit and try again later. It’s annoying if there’s an autofail. Also if I get spotted I like to know who spotted me. Not possible with autofail.

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